Neighbor News

We 'These People' Really Want To Work

Neighbor News — Wednesday, December 29, 2010


As we end 2010, many New Jersey residents are hoping that the new year will be a better one than the old. That was our thought at the close of 2009 also. It's like the "MASH" episode that starts with Colonel Potter's toast on New Year's Day in 1951: "Here's to the New Year. May she be a damned sight better than the old one and may we all be home before she's over."

A year later, he repeats the toast.

And as we end 2010, the state's unemployment rate is 9.2 percent. We know people who have been out of work as a couple of New Year's Days have gone by because the recession led their employers to eliminate jobs, often managerial positions. Compensation from the Unemployment Insurance Fund has pulled them through the year.

Assemblyman Alex DeCroce (R-NJ 26th District) of Parsippany isn't happy about that On Dec. 14 he told members of the Business and Industry Association "that benefits are too good for these people."

"Why go to work?," DeCroce reportedly said. "If you can go for 26 weeks collecting $550 a week, and you get an extension for another 26, that's close to $27,000 a year or $30,000 a year, and a lot of people figure, Why go to work?'"

Yes, they aren't going to trade in an unemployment check for a pay check when the latter is substantially less. Why? Because they are lazy? No, because they need to pay the bills.

And $30,000 didn't cover much in New Jersey in 2010 and won't in 2011. Why go to work? To pay the bills. But where is the work?

It is unsettling to think that an Assemblyman in this area would believe in ""these hard economic times," as they are often called, that people are just "gaming the system."

"These people" paid into the unemployment insurance fund for years, for decades. They are losing their confidence and their self-esteem. They are sending in resumes for jobs and not receiving replies because hundreds of people are applying for the same job.

Some of the unemployed have come from businesses that might never bounce back from the recession. Companies that have struggled or are still struggling might continue on forever without the positions that they had to eliminate.

Some of the older among the unemployed are now competing against younger jobseekers who could be favored by employers who are looking for those who are the most technologically experienced.

DeCroce has apologized for not making his comments clearer. Governor Christie said that DeCroce's comments "were wrong. He admitted they were wrong."

To our unemployed residents who would love to work again, the comments were very clear. DeCroce doesn't understand what it's like for them. They are hoping that the new year will "be a damned sight better than the old one" and may they all be employed before she's over.

PHOTO COURTESY OF NEW JERSEY CITIZEN ACTION Unemployed and concerned citizens protested outside Alex DeCroce's district office in reaction to the legislator's remarks about unemployment insurance benefits

Copyright 2010

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